Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Counting Beans

We need the census, apparently.  We need to be asked all 43 questions for a variety of reasons, all of which boil down to the basic one "Nanny State needs this information in order to plan".

My response is summed up perfectly by Messrs Lynn and Jay.  It is the last episode of Yes Prime Minister, and Jim Hacker is proposing to abolish the Department of Education and Science.  He naturally meets opposition from Sir Humphrey, a man who believes that nothing can happen without a Government Department to support it, a man who would have been beside himself with joy from 1997 onwards.  Having established that the DES does little of direct and immediate relevance to day-to-day schooling, Jim delivers the coup de grâce, suggesting complete closure of the department.  The following is taken from the book, written in the style of Hacker's memoirs:
(Jim) "Let's see if we can do better without the bureaucracy."
(Sir Humphrey) "But who would plan for the future?"
I laughed.  But I didn't just laugh, I laughed uproariously.  Laughter overwhelmed me, for the first time since I'd been Prime Minister.  Tears were rolling down my cheeks.  "Do you mean?", I finally gasped, breathless, weeping with laughter, "that education in Britain today is what the Department of Education planned?"


  1. Good point. If they want to use the census information for planning, one has to ask what they used previous census data for. If it was for planning, it certainly wasn't very good. And, of course, the whole thing will be a huge underestimate. You and I will (or might) complete it, but are any of the 3m illegal immigrants that Labour allowed in going to fill in a form? Nope.

  2. (Jim) "Humphrey?"

    (Bernard) "I think he is trying to say Yes Minister."

    Humphrey's face was a picture.